NASA's newest solar observatory IRIS is scheduled to launch June 27, 2013. IRIS, which stands for Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph will use its telescope to observe the region of the sun between the surface and the corona, or the sun's outer atmosphere.
The launch will start from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California where a modified L-1011 airliner will carry the IRIS spacecraft attached to a Pegasus rocket. The Pegasus rocket has been used to launch 18 successful missions for NASA.
The IRIS spacecraft joins the Solar Dynamics Observatory and Hinode missions to study how the sun's solar atmosphere affects the earth.
Photo courtesy of: NASA